Postcards from France… Days Five and Six

Letad had organised a tour of Provence with an overnight stay in an old abbey and so we headed off winding our way through sleepy French villages and of course, saw horses camping (as only we would). How is it possible that I have met someone with the same ludicrous sense of humour?

The landscape was spectacular with endless vineyards, the chirp of cicadas and villages built into cliffs. The weather was hot and dry and life continues to follow its centuries’ familiar path.

Pausing briefly in Draguignan, we stopped for a quick picnic in a park where as always the delicious French produce made a quick and easy lunch. A baguette, cheese, pâté and a cold bottle of rosé and we were back on the road.

A quick stop at the Abbaye du Thoronet for a Perrier under a tree which may have been a plum, a nectarine or neither, a quick look around and we were off again, the lure of a pool proving too much to linger.

The trusty iPhone guided us through the winding one way system of Brignoles (thanks Steve) when the map let us down and finally we arrived, hot, sticky and dusty at the Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle (

The colours of Provence
It was a beautiful hotel with the original abbey attached, a tree-shaded outdoor terrace restaurant, mature gardens and a vineyard. We plunged into the pool sighing in the relief of the cool water.

The gardens

Dressing for dinner it was time to up the ante so it was va va voom, the red dress and Pradas. Letad looked fabulous in a blue Agnes b shirt and cream trousers and we both felt incredibly lucky to be together. There may even have been strutting!

Dinner was an incredible six course menu by Alain Ducasse, one of the top Michelin starred chefs (

Tartar of beef with Parmesan and balsamic vinegar, stuffed vegetables, Mediterranean fish with seasonal summer vegetables, pavé of veal and a selection of cheese. All local produce paired with wines from the region, it was an evening to savour and remember.

The next morning we enjoyed a tranquil breakfast on the terrace. Fresh croissants, fruit, cheese, ham, jus de pamplemousse (grapefruit) and fantastic coffee. What a way to start the day. 

Breakfast on the terrace
We said our farewells and headed to Aups and on to the Lac de Sainte Croix for a swim in the cloudy jade green water. The temperatures were searing and the water just about refreshing.

Les Gorges du Verdon awaited with some of the most spectacular views of the area and we braved (and lived through) Letad’s erratic driving around some very windy roads.

Les Gorges du Verdon

Heading back we passed through Grasse before returning once again to the little village house above the Boulangerie where we enjoyed a candle lit dinner for two sitting outside the front door.

Dinner dans la rue
What a fantastic adventure and while hilarious hamster greeting cards reminiscent of squirrel underpants and horses camping proved elusive, it was a fabulous drive through Provence and a tantilising taste of the region!.

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